Shares of Intuitive Machines ended Monday’s trading up 6.2%, continuing their recent surge as the space-exploration company aims to make history with the launch of its Nova-C commercial lunar lander.
With launch partner SpaceX, Intuitive Machines
is aiming for a launch window that begins at 12:57 a.m. Eastern time on Feb. 14. Nova-C will be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida and is expected to land on the moon on Feb. 22.
If the IM-1 mission is successful, Nova-C will be the first commercial U.S. lunar lander to reach the moon’s surface. Last month, private U.S. space company Astrobotic Technology ended its troubled mission to place a lander on the moon.
Related: Space-exploration company Intuitive Machines edges closer to historic moon mission
Intuitive Machines’ stock ended Friday’s session up 32.01% — its biggest daily percentage gain since April 26, 2023, when it rose 32.3%.
“This stock is trying to moon, literally,” tweeted StockTwits, a social platform for investors and traders, on Monday, noting Intuitive Machines’ premarket gain.
The IM-1 mission is Intuitive Machines’ first lunar-landing attempt within NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, which is part of the Artemis program to eventually return U.S. astronauts to the moon.
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The launch is timed for the monthly lunar-blackout period. Nova-C will land near the moon’s south pole, where the correct lighting conditions are available for only a few days each month.
The mission will carry NASA science and technology instruments focusing on plume-surface interactions, space-weather and lunar-surface interactions, radio astronomy, precision-landing technologies and a communication and navigation node for future autonomous navigation technologies, according to the space agency.
Commercial moon landings are considered important scouting missions for the Artemis program. Last month, NASA said it is now targeting September 2025 for its first crewed Artemis mission around the moon, and September 2026 for its Artemis mission to land astronauts near the lunar south pole.
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Last month, Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, successfully landed on the moon. However, the probe was upside down on the lunar surface in an image taken by SLIM’s rover.
Intuitive Machines shares are down 49.1% in the last 52 weeks, compared with the S&P 500 index’s
gain of 21.4%.